Tynwald Day

On Tynwald Day each July two Deemsters read out, first in English and then in Manx all the laws passed in the previous year by Tynwald, the Manx Parliament. Any Act of Tynwald that is not promulgated in this way within eighteen months ceases to have effect.

To me this seems a very good scheme, which other jurisdictions should adopt.

In the UK of course, if the hapless reader started on 1st January and read non-stop, when it came to 31st December there would be more new legislation waiting to be read out than there was when he started.

Intuitively there is something wrong with the situation in the UK, isn’t there? No lawyer, however bright, could possibly know or even read all this law. But ignorance of the law is no excuse, and Joe Public is deemed to know all of it.

This is of course an unconventional, even heretical, view for a lawyer to hold. Clearly the politicians in the UK and Europe do not share it either.

Two of our daily business quotes come to mind. The first is from Professor S.F.C. Milsom, who tried to teach me legal history but succeeded only in turning me into a legal heretic:

“Legislation never achieves its intended effect, and often achieves the opposite effect from that which was intended.”

The second is older and darker, from Tacitus:

“The more corrupt a state is, the more it legislates.”

Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.